Oktoberfest is held annually in Munich, Germany and is a 16-18 day festival which usually begins late September and runs until early October. This insanely huge folks festival caters to more than 6 million individuals from around the globe every year! You may have heard comments that Oktoberfest is an overcrowded, overhyped and overpriced festival. I will admit that these comments have some merit, however, having visited the festival twice, I’m here to share with you the 13 reasons why you should definitely visit at least once in your life.
1. A reason to dress up
The official dress of Oktoberfest is a dirndl for the ladies and lederhosen for the men. I highly recommend you pick one up when you arrive in Munich, as dressing up is all part of the fun! You can spend anywhere between €20- €600 on an outfit and the great thing is that they can be recycled for use at future dress up parties and Halloween celebrations! You’ll find many pop-up street vendors selling the cheaper versions in and around the city center and big department stores like C&A will see you spend low-mid range, but if you’re willing to go all out consider visiting a store like Amsel Fashion.
Of course the liquid gold is probably one of the most important elements to this festival with an estimated 6 million liters to be drunk this year! There have been tough brewing regulations in place since the 16th century with one of the oldest laws concerning food and drink being the Bavarian Purity Requirements: only water, hops and barley can be used to brew Bavarian beer. This means beer is only supplied by Munich’s six breweries: Augustiner, Paulaner,
Spaten-Franziskaner, Löwenbräu, Hacker-Pschorr and Hofbräu. So it’s safe to say the beer at Oktoberfest will be the best you will ever taste. This year, a “Mass” (one liter of beer) will cost between 9.70 € and 10.10 €.
3. What hangover?
Following on from point 2; the strict ingredient rules means you won’t be drinking the usual additions and preservatives found in your regular brew. Trust me on this one; you will be amazed how great you feel the next morning after drinking a few (4, 5, 6 ?) liters of beer.
4. The food
Traditional food from Bavaria is absolutely delicious. Please don’t leave without trying the juicy and tender roast chicken, Käsespätzle, charcuterie and of course Weisswurst accompanied by a pretzel and sweet mustard.
5. Englischer Garten (The English Gardens)
A trip to Munich is not complete without a visit to the gorgeous Englischer Garten. Give yourself a time-out from the Oktoberfest madness and head over to this 417 hectare park (that’s bigger than Hyde Park in London or Central Park in New York!). On a nice day the sunshine attracts a big crowd to the numerous beer gardens within the park.
Be prepared to sing along to your favorite tunes and the old-school hits with a live band in every tent.
7. Dancing in the tents (and on tables)
Which leads me to this point… dancing on tables is absolutely necessary.
8. The people
You’ll meet people from all around the globe varying a range of ages. People travel across the world for Oktoberfest and you’ll likely find yourself in a ‘six degrees of separation’ situation while you’re inside the festival. After a few beers you can be sure to get chatting with the group sitting at the other end of your table. Before you know it, you’ve made yourself some new friends!
9. You don’t have to sit in a tent all day
It’s 5pm and you realize you’ve been inside the Hofbräu tent drinking for the last 6 hours. Take a break and enjoy all the festivities outside the tents; the Theresienwiese is filled with people, rides, games and numerous food stalls.
10. The music
As Oktoberfest strives to be family friendly until after the sunset, the bands usually stick to only brass instruments and don’t use guitars until after dinner time. Don’t be disappointed, the day time music and enthusiastic singing from the crowds quickly turns the Oktoberfest into a festive party in no time. You can expect to hear loads of classic oldies, traditional German hits, and songs of the modern tune from Black Eyed Peas to Drake. However, one song you may (or may not) get sick of is I Salute You (Ein Prosit). It’s well known for being THE song of Oktoberfest as is played like clockwork in the beer tents every 15 minutes.
11. Neuschwanstein Castle
A short 1.5 hr drive or 3 hr train ride away from Munich sits the most photographed building in Germany. This gorgeous nineteenth century Bavarian castle is a fantastic day trip and the perfect Instagram opportunity. It is said that the palace from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty was drawn from the Neuschwanstein Castle.
12. The atmosphere
I can do my best to describe the infectious excitement you will feel once you step foot inside the festival, however I recommend checking it out for yourself! Inside each of the numerous tents are thousands of people dressed up and sitting at tables drinking beer. The chatter and singing that fills the tents could be comparable to what you hear when in a stadium watching your favourite team at a sold out game. A few steins later and the crowd get a bit rowdier and when the sun goes down, the chatter gets louder and memories fuzzier.
13. An adult-proof amusement park
Not only is there enough food and beer to last a lifetime, Oktoberfest boasts crazy roller coasters to classic ferris wheels with a ride or game to suit everyone. I’d recommend avoiding the more extreme rides with a tummy full of liquid gold….
If you’re thinking about going, now is the time to start planning, as prices are still relatively affordable. My tip is to gather a group of your best friends and book an Air BnB within Munich. Getting to the festival is quite quick and simple with easy to navigate public transport and connections at your door step. If you’re really on a budget, take a look at The Tent which is in essence a giant 200 bed dorm room where you can secure a bed for about €28 a night. Don’t forget to pack the earplugs if you choose to stay there! Another tip is to definitely avoid the opening weekend of Oktoberfest if you can as opening weekend means bigger crowds, less chance of getting a seat at a table and a lot more waiting around for your first beer!
Get booking and enjoy your trip to Munich! Have you visited Oktoberfest before? Comment below with your experience and any tips you may have.
Psst. Do(n’t) tell!
About the author
Hi, i’m Emily. Born in Sydney, made in the world. I’m addicted to travelling and love throwing myself into exciting and sometimes delicate situations and experiences to ensure I always come out with the best stories and make the most of my adventure. I’m currently living in bustling Dusseldorf, Germany and can’t wait to find out where the world will take me next! Follow my adventure on Instagram or Snapchat.